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glory. This is what the words of our text have a more direct respect to; and this is what is prophesied of in Hos. ii. 19, 20. “ And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving. kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.” And this is what is especially intended by the marriage of the Lamb, in Rev. xix.
We are sure this day will come ; and we have many reasons to think that it is approaching; from the fulfilment of almost every thing that the prophecies speak of as preceding it, and their having been fulfilled now a long time; and from the general earnest expectations of the church of God, and the best of her ministers and members, and the late extraordinary things that have appeared in the church of God, and appertaining to the state of religion, and the present aspects of Divine Providence, which the time will not allow me largely to insist apon.
As the happiness of that day will have a great resemblance of the glory and joy of the eternal wedding-day of the church after the resurrection of the just ; so will the privileges of faithful ministers at that time much resemble those they shall enjoy with the bridegroom and bride, as to honour and happiness, in eternal glory. This is the time especially intended in the text, wherein it is said, “ as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee." And it is after in the prophecies spoken of as a great part of the glory of that time, that then the church should be so well supplied with faithful ministers. So in the next verse to the text, “ I have set watchmen on thy walls, O Jerusalem, that shall never hold their peace, day nor night.” So, Isa. xxx. 20, 21. « Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers; and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in
, it, when ye turn to the right band, and when ye turn to the left." Jer. iii. 15. “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” And, chap. xxiii. 4. “ And I will set up shepherds over them, which shall feed them." And the great privilege and joy of faithful ministers at that day is foretold in Isa. lii. 8. i Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”
And as that day must needs be approaching, and we our. selves have lately seen some things which we have reason to hope are forerunners of it; certainly it should strongly excite us to endeavour to be such pastors as God has promised to bless his church with at that time; that if any of us should
live to see the dawning of that glorious day, we might share in the blessedness of it, and then be called, as the friends of the bridegroom, to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, and partake of that joy in which heaven and earth, angels and saints, and Christ and his church, shall be united at that time.
But here I would apply the exhortation in a few words to that minister of Christ, who, above all others, is concerned in the solemnity of this day, who is now to be united to, and set over this people as their pastor.
You have now heard, reverend sir, the great importance and high ends of the office of an evangelical pastor, and the glorious privileges of such as are faithtul in this office, imperfectly represented. May God grant that your union with this people, this day, as their pastor, may be such, that God's people here may have the great promise God makes to liis church in the text, now fulfilled unto them. May you now, as one of the precious sons of Zion, take this part of Christ's church by the hand, in the name of your great Master, the glorious bridegroom, with a heart devoted unto hiin with true adoration and supreme affection, and for bis sake knit to this people, in a spiritual and pare love, and as it were a conjugal tenderness; ardently desiring that great happiness for them, which you have now heard Christ has chosen his church unto, and has shed his blood to obtain for her; being yourself ready to spend and be spent for them ; remembering the great errand on which Christ sends you to them, vis. to woo and win their hearts, and espouse their souls to him, and to bring up his elect spouse, and to fit and adorn her for his embraces; that you may in due time present her a chaste virgin to bim, for him to rejoice over, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride. How honourable is this business that Christ employs you in! and how joyfully shonld you perform it! When Abraham's faithful servant was sent to take a wife for his master's son, how engaged was he in the business; and how joyful was he when he succeeded! With what joy did he bow his head and worship, and bless the Lord God of his master, for his mercy and his truth in making his way prosperous ! And what a joyful meeting may we conclude he had with Isaac, when he met him in the field, by the well of Laha-roi, and there presented bis beauteous Rebekah to him, and told him all things that he had done! But this was but a shadow of that joy that you shall have, if you imitate his fidelity, in the day when you shall meet your
, glorious Master, and present Christ's church in this place, as a chaste and beautiful virgin unto him.
We trust, dear sir, that you will estcem it a most blessed employment, to spend your time and skill in adorning Christ's bride for her marriage with the Lamb, and that it is work which you will do with delight; and that you will take heed that the ornaments you put upon her are of the right sort, what shall be indeed beautiful and precious in the eyes of the bridegroom, that she may be all-glorious within, and her clothing of wrought gold; that on the wedding-day she may stand on the king's right hand in gold of Ophir.
The joyful day is coming, when the spouse of Christ shall be led to the king in raiment of needle-work; and angels and faithful ministers will be the servants that shall lead her in. And you, sir, if you are faithful in the charge now to be committed to you, shall be joined with glorious angels in that honourable and joyful service; but with this difference, that you shall have the higher privilege. Angels and faithful ministers shall be together in bringing in Christ's bride into bis palace, and presenting her to hiin. But faithful ministers shall have a much higher participation of the joy of that occasion. They shall have a greater and more immediate participation with the bride in her joy; for they shall not only be ministers to the church as the angels are, but parts of the church, principal members of the bride. And as such, at the same time that angels do the part of ministering spirits to the bride, when they conduct her to the bridegroom, they shall also do the part of ministering spirits to faithful ministers. And they shall also have a bigher participation with the bridegroom than the angels, in his rejoicing at that time; for they shall be nearer to him than they. They are also his members, and are honoured as the principal instruments of espousing the saints to him, and fitting them for his enjoyment: and therefore they will be more the crown of rejoicing of faithful ministers, than of the angels of heaven.
So great, dear sir, is the honour and joy that is Set before you, to engage you to faithfulness in your pastoral care of this people; so glorious the prize that Christ has set up to engage you to run the race that is set before you.
I would now conclude with a few words to the people of this congregation, whose souls are now to be committed to the care of that minister of Christ whom they have chosen as
Let me take occasion, dear brethren, from what has been said, to exhort you-not forgetting the respect, honour, and reverence, that will ever be due from you to your former pastor, wbo has served you so long in that work, but by Teason of age and growing infirmities, and the prospect of his place being so happily supplied by a successor, has seen meet to relinquish the burden of the pastoral charge over you - to perform the duties that belong to you, in your part of that relation and union now to be established between you and your elect pastor. Receive him as the messenger of the Lord of Hosts, one that in his office represents the glorious bridegroom of the church; love and honour bim, and willingly submit yourselves to him, as a virgin when married to a husband. Surely the feet of that messenger should be beautiful, that comes to you on such a blessed errand as that which you have heard, to espouse you to the eternal Son of God, and to fit you for, and lead you to him as your bridegroom. Your chosen pastor comes to you on this errand, and he comes in the name of the bridegroom, so empowered by him, and representing him, that in receiving him, you will receive Christ, and in rejecting bim, you will reject Christ.
Be exhorted to treat your pastor as the beautiful and virtuous Rebekah treated Abraham's servant. She most charitably and hospitably entertained him, provided lodging and food for bim and his company, and took care that he should be comfortably entertained and supplied in all respects, while he continued in his embassy; and that was the note or mark of distinction which God himself gave him, by which he should know the true spouse of Isaac from all others of the daughters of the city. Therefore in this respect approve yourselves as the true spouse of Christ, by giving kind entertainment to your minister that comes to espouse you to the antetype of Isaac. Provide for his outward subsistence and comfort, with the like cheerfulness that Rebekah did for Abraham's servant. You have an account of her alacrity and liberality in supplying him, in Gen. xxiv. 18, &c. Say as her brotber did, ver. 31, Come in, thou blessed of the
Thus you should entertain your pastor. But this is not that wherein your duty towards him chiefly lies: the main thing is to comply with him in his great errand, and to yield to the suit that he makes to you in the name of Christ, to be his bride. In this you should be like Rebekah; she was, from what she heard of Isaac, and God's covenant with him, and blessing upon him, from the mouth of Abraham's servant, willing for ever to forsake her own country, and her father's house, to go into a country she had never seen, to be Isaac's wife, wbom also she never saw. After she bad heard what the servant had to say, and her old friends bad a mind she should put off the affair for the present—but it was insisted on that she should go immediately—and she was asked, “ whether she would go with this man,” she said, “ I will go :” and she left her kindred, and followed the man through all that long journey, till he had brought her unto Isaac, and they three had that joyful meeting in Canaan. If you will this day receive your pastor in that union that is now to be established between him and you, it will be a joyful day in
this place, and the joy will be like the joy of espousals, as when a young man marries a virgin ; and it will not only be a joyful day in East-Hampton, but it will doubtless be a joyful day in beaven, on your own account. And your joy will be a faint resemblance, and a forerunner of that future joy, when Christ shall rejoice over you as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, in heavenly glory.
And if your pastor be faithful in his office, and you' hearken and yield to him in that great errand on which Christ sends him to you, the time will come, wherein you and your pastor will be each others' crown of rejoicing, and wherein Christ and he and you shall all meet together at the glorious marriage of the Lamb, and shall rejoice in and over one another, with perfect, uninterrupted, never ending and never fading joy.